Apple is creating its own AI-powered chatbot that some engineers are calling “Apple GPT,” according to a report from Bloomberg. The company reportedly doesn’t have any solid plans to release the technology to the public yet.
As noted by Bloomberg, the chatbot uses its own large language model (LLM) framework called “Ajax,” running on Google Cloud and built with Google JAX, a framework created to accelerate machine learning research. Sources close to the situation tell the outlet that Apple has multiple teams working on the project, which includes addressing potential privacy implications.
As other tech giants, including Meta, Microsoft, and Google, have moved quickly releasing generative AI products of their own to businesses and the general public, Apple has been conspicuous in its absence. While Apple banned its workers from using ChatGPT, Bloomberg reports that engineers have been using the Ajax-powered chatbot internally. Ajax was created to “unify machine learning development,” Bloomberg says.
Apple has been fairly quiet in the generative AI space, though the company has been weaving AI into its software for a long time. Its most famous AI system is Siri, the voice assistant that helped kick-start the trend among tech companies, but critics have long claimed Siri still has a long way to go. To help bolster its efforts, Apple hired John Giannandrea, who previously headed up AI and search at Google, in 2018 to oversee Siri and its machine learning teams. According to Bloomberg, Giannandrea and Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, are leading Apple’s AI initiative.
In a recent interview with Good Morning America, Tim Cook said AI tech is something Apple is “looking at closely.” Cook also expressed concerns about AI products during an earnings call in May, noting there are “a number of issues that need to be sorted.” Other companies have begun working together to release different LLMs to startups and researchers. Meta announced Tuesday that its LLM LLaMA 2 will be accessible on Microsoft’s Azure platform. Microsoft also runs OpenAI’s GPT model on its Bing search product.
Although Apple’s plans in the AI space are still unclear, sources tell Bloomberg that Apple is looking to make a “significant AI-related announcement” sometime next year.